Saturday, July 20, 2013

Third Time's a Charm!

Wow! Three consecutive weekends with good to excellent surf, today the best of them.  Unfortunately, the run ends here, as next weekend I'm out of town.  But what a nice, little run!

Encountering Neil as I crossed the tracks to check out the swell under a heavy overcast, a large set rolled in, a foot or two overhead.  Quickly, I swung up the camera to capture it, but the media card was improperly set and by the time I had it fixed the set was gone.  What's below captures some of the lesser waves out there today - but I wasn't going to delay getting in the water just to prove it to you; you're going to have to believe me!

Our lovely, over-seventy, water temperature of the past few weeks had been replaced by mid-sixties, requiring at least a little rubber.  Within a few minutes, though, I was in the spring shortie and heading down to the Main Peak area, Mark and Neil close behind. 

Like last weekend, a strong current was running from the south, stringing out the lineup, so a swim-out at the rocks to the south of Main Peak made sense.  As it turned out, I remained between the rocks and Main Peak for the next 90 minutes, often having it pretty much alone, along with Casey, who was in the water, with his blue board, when we arrived.  

Overall, today was one of the best sessions this year.  Corners abounded, ranging from chest-high to the occasional overhead set.  There was a really nice left coming off the rocks on the larger sets, and I spent most my time, lingering in the hope of catching it.  

I did nab an exceptional one; one of my two best waves of the year so far.  It started head-high, and I was right at the corner.  As I drove for the take-off and started my initial slide down the face, a large clump of kelp wrapped around me and seemed to be trying to pull me back out of the wave.  Eyeing the smooth face stretching away in front of me, I frantically shook and kicked it off, pulling into that face just ahead of the lip.  For the next 50 yards, I raced against that lip, sometimes a little behind - mostly covered up - and sometimes pulling ahead.  I end up deep inside, pulling over the top of what was now a waist-high crest with a hoot.

Though it was textured, and even a little bumpy at times, early on, in about an hour it completely glassed over into a glossy surface under an even darker sky.  The dim light and smooth surface made it a challenge to see the swells coming in.  

About then, Joe's friend, Sam Abeger, arrived, and swam out, in fins, noting Joe wasn't far behind.  Mark, Neil, Sam and I continued to enjoy the full stretch around Main Peak, but I didn't see Joe.  Finally, I asked Sam where he was.  Just to the south of the rocks, but still close enough to have heard my question, there Joe was, where Sam pointed him out, beaming on his new board.  Between the new board and the shaggiest hair I've seen on him in a while, I wouldn't have picked him out of the lineup.

Shortly, I worked south of the rocks, where he'd been working a peak that he'd hitherto had all to himself!  It was as good to the south as at Main Peak.  Eventually tiring, though, well over two hours into the session, I decided to gradually drift back toward the steps.  Joe and Sam followed suit.  Joe's in the photo above, taken after I got out, of the area a bit north of Main Peak.

Two double-calf-cramps and over 2-1/2 hours after entering the water, I staggered out to join Mark on the shore with Craig, who was just preparing to go in.  The only thing to spoil an excellent session came as I was riding my "shoreboat" wave in to shore - just as I started a quick gulp of air, midway in, the waterwater hit backwash, throwing a spray of sandy froth up into my mouth and down into my lungs.  I felt a bit lame, standing in the knee-deep water, coughing to try to clear some of it out of my lungs. 

Running late, I wasn't able to get many shots after the session, but caught this of Joe on an inside right, north of Main Peak:

...also this, of Craig, testing stick's willingness to share.  :-)

Actually, in fairness, Craig pulled out.

OK, so I didn't blog last week's session.  It was quite similar to today, though a bit smaller.  The water was a balmy 71, offering the luxury of trunking, comfortably.  Also, the sun came through for much of the session.  A couple of post-session shots follow.

Joe and Sam were also there last week, along with Sam's twin, Alex and Joe's roommate, Bennett - both on their boards.  Having them there made for a very fun session.  Like today, my session extended beyond two & a half hours, with current to fight much of the time.  It made the endeavor to replenish energy, to attend my godson's wedding that night, a challenge for the afternoon!

Ah, well...three good weeks of weekend surf.  It'll hold me for a couple of weeks.  Thus far, the summer has been holding pretty true to the early promise of May: Summer Preview?
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Simple Summer Sunday in the Park

No sizzling story today; just a fun day in warm water and better-than-expected waves and conditions.  Forecasts were for onshore winds - depending where you looked, maybe 2-3 mph to 8-10 mph - and a pretty paltry swell.  The greatest draw was promise of 70+ degree water and a chance to break the dry spell of the past couple of weeks (see 6/23 post).

As is evident from the photo above and those that follow, we found quite playful, well-shaped surf and conditions approaching glassy.  Wind wasn't an issue at all today and there were scads of waist-to-shoulder high, sometimes bigger, waves for the taking.  

With maybe a half-dozen sticks out, the main peak looked a little crowded as I checked it out from the rail, but nothing at all compared to Cotton's, to the south!  What's with that - really - click on the photo below for full-rez to see scores of sticks out there, waiting to vie for what???

By the time that we got out, though, the "crowd" at the main peak had thinned, so I swam out there, followed by now-octogenerian Neil Frank.  The vibe was positive and for the next 2-1/2 hours, we all pretty much had our pick of waves at the main peak.  Mark Ghattas had arrived in the lot before we headed out, and joined us shortly.  I kept looking for (son) Joe, who had been only 5 minutes away when I was suiting up.  With all of LA county, and most of Northern Orange County, basically flat, Joe had decided to join us in the altogether reliable Park.  (As EY_\ was fond of saying..."the Park delivers!)  Unfortunately, Joe carved an extra half-hour onto his run south by missing the Calafia exit and having to find a turn-around inside the massive stretch of Camp Pendleton.

Eventually, though, Joe got there, for a couple of hours of good fun, sharing waves in temperatures that made skinning it more than comfortable.  Joe was getting a lot of good rides, inside, where he could grind out the cutbacks and work on his floaters, but didn't miss the opportunity on a few of the better formed set waves.  

As the morning wore on, the sun burned through the overcast evident above, and DaArm put in a showing - after at least a year, and maybe double that, since riding with him, he's now put in for back-to-back sessions.  Casey swam out our for a session "of the body" as well, so we had a good pod for a while.  It was good to see Neil back in the water, as well.

As I headed back up the beach, I realized - or, more honestly, my wobbly legs reminded me - that in a "smallies" session, you catch about 5 times the number of waves as when it's really firing out there. 
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